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CSC conference fosters peace

Mel Flanagan | Wednesday, March 20, 2013

This weekend’s Catholic Social Tradition conference will celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Pacem in Terris,” a papal encyclical that purports the importance of human rights.
 

The Center for Social Concerns (CSC) is sponsoring “Peace Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” the second biannual conference at Notre Dame. Bill Purcell, associate director for Catholic social tradition and practice at the CSC, said speakers will present academic papers related to achieving peace on earth.

“One of the key aspects the conference is trying to do is see how we look at ‘Pacem in Terris,'” Purcell said. “What have we done in the past to work for peace, what are we doing now and what can we do in the future?”

The conference will open Thursday evening with an address by keynote speaker Fr. Kenneth Himes, an associate professor of theology at Boston College, and will conclude with a Saturday evening Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

Scholars from all over the world will present more than 40 papers during the course of the three days, Purcell said. The speakers, who are not only international but also interfaith, will explore peace and justice issues of all capacities, he said.

Sample topics include bringing peace to liturgy wars, utilizing modern methods of communication as a way of promoting peace and peace-building through women.

“Notre Dame is a place to bring in scholars from around the country and world to talk about Catholic Social Tradition,” Purcell said. “This conference is a way to gather these scholars so Notre Dame is a place where the Church does its thinking.”

In addition to scholars from around the world, Purcell said the conference attracts attendees from a wide range of places, including 25 states, 30 universities and other countries, such as Chile.

“It’s about learning about ways of engaging people from around the world,” Purcell said. “We’re learning international ways and applications of how do we be peace builders.”

Although registration costs $150 for other attendees, the conference is free for Notre Dame, Holy Cross and Saint Mary’s students, faculty and staff.

Purcell encouraged students to attend as a way to confront issues of peace and justice they are likely to encounter throughout their lives.

“These are great … lecturers to hear about ways to engage through the world,” he said. “Once you graduate here, you’re going to engage the world, and a great way to learn is to hear from folks who are already doing it.”